Google, Amazon To Battle For Cloud Storage Supremacy

Google this week offered a sneak peek at Google Storage for Developers, its new cloud service built on Google's storage and networking infrastructure that pits it directly against Amazon and its Simple Storage Service (S3) for cloud storage supremacy.

The early preview of Google Storage for Developers service, revealed at Google's I/O developer conference in San Francisco, gives developers the tools to tap into data that Google stores.

"Using this RESTful API, developers can easily connect their applications to fast, reliable storage replicated across several U.S. data centers," Jessie Jiang, a member of the Google Storage for Developers Team, wrote in a blog post announcing an early iteration of the service. "It is highly scalable -- supporting read-after-write data consistency, objects of hundreds of gigabytes in size per request and a domain-scoped namespace. In addition, developers can manage their storage from a Web-based interface and use GSUtil, an open-source command-line tool and library."

Additional features include SSL support; access controls; a Web interface for management and multiple authentication methods.

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Essentially, the service gives developers low-level access to information stored online, and Web sites and Internet-based applications can access stored data. Like other cloud computing services, Google Storage for Developers will be a pay-per-drink offering, meaning users will pay only for what they use.

Right now, Google is offering Google Storage for Developers by invitation to a limited number of users. During the preview, Google said, developers will receive up to 100 GB of data storage and 300 GB of monthly bandwidth at no charge. Google has launched a Web site for developers to sign up for the waiting list and to give developers more information.

Following the preview, Google Storage for Developers will cost 17 cents per Gigabyte per month for storage. Additionally, to upload data to Google it will cost 10 cents per Gigabyte and to download data from Google will cost 15 cents per Gigabyte in the Americas and EMEA and 30 cents per gigabyte for APAC. For requests, Google will charge one cent per 1,000 put, post and list request, and one center per 10,000 get and head requests.

Google also launched a pair of new APIs that can be used with Google Storage for Developers. The BigQuery API lets users explore and understand historical data to help users analyze network logs, identify seasonal sales trends, or "find a needle in a haystack of big data," Google said. Meanwhile, the Prediction API exposes Google's machine learning algorithms as a Web service to make applications more intelligent, helping users "user historical data to make real-time decisions such as recommending products, assessing user sentiment from blogs and tweets, routing messages or assessing suspicious activities," Google wrote in a blog post announcing the new APIs.

NEXT: The Cloud Storage Competition Heats Up

The launch of Google Storage for Developers will put Google in tighter competition against Amazon Web Services (AWS) and its S3 cloud storage offering. While Google Storage for Developers offers flat rates, Amazon S3 rates drop as users utilize more storage. Amazon's storage rates start at 15 cents per GB for the first 50 terabytes per month and drop to 5.5 cents per GB for storage used per month over 5,000 TB.

Amazon's cloud storage also got an update this week with the new Reduced Redundancy Storage (RRS) tier, a cheaper alternative to full-on Amazon S3. Amazon is billing RRS a version of S3 that lets users store less important data for less money.

"Reduced Redundancy Storage (RRS) is a new storage option within Amazon S3 that enables customers to reduce their costs by storing non-critical, reproducible data at lower levels of redundancy than Amazon S3's standard storage," according to Amazon's RRS announcement.

Basically, RRS is cheaper because it requires fewer storage resources and requires less replication. According to Amazon, RRS rates start at start at 10 cents per GB for the first 50 terabytes per month and drop to 3.7 cents per GB for storage used per month over 5,000 TB.

"Amazon S3's standard and reduced redundancy options both store data in multiple facilities and on multiple devices, but with RRS, data is replicated fewer times, so the cost is less," Amazon's announcement continued. "Amazon S3 standard storage is designed to provide 99.999999999 percent durability and to sustain the concurrent loss of data in two facilities, while RRS is designed to provide 99.99 percent durability and to sustain the loss of data in a single facility."